Adventures / Adventure School

Learn Mountain Winter Skills in Scotland

From avalanche awareness to mountain navigation, this hiking adventure will see you hone your winter skills in the Cairngorm Mountains. 0 days off work.

Ever wondered if you have what it takes to navigate yourself through the mountainous winter terrain? This trip will introduce you to all of the skills you might need, as well as taking your hiking ability to the next level. By the end of the weekend, you will be able to use an ice axe, crampons, navigate the mountains safely and also understand the avalanche risks. So, what does this winter adventure include?

  • 2 days of hiking and winter skill training
  • 2 nights of accommodation
  • Transfers to/from Inverness airport or centre
  • Local, professional guides
  • Breakfast
  • Helmet
  • Crampons and ice axe

Perfect for:
Anyone with some experience in hiking, who wants to improve their hiking ability or learn more about tackling the mountains in the winter.

Need To Know

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Flights to/from Inverness
  • Lunch and Dinner
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for your guides (optional)
  • Walking boots

This trip will run with a minimum of 4 people, and a maximum of 6.

Please note, this trip may be rearranged or cancelled if fewer than 4 people are booked.

Sure can! A lot of people do, and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Much Better Adventures are very social in nature and we’ve seen lots of new friendships born out of them. Expect a mix of solo travelers and very small groups of 2 or 3, all with a shared appreciation of escaping the city for the great outdoors to try something new and meet new people.

You will need some summer hill walking experience for this adventure, preferably with Munros. In terms of fitness, the walking over two days can be strenuous in parts, so a base level of fitness is required, but generally, it can be done by anyone with the right attitude.

If you’re already experienced in winter mountaineering, have a look at our Winter Mountain Climbing Course to hone your skills.

You will need to buy or bring your own packed lunch for the hike. The B&B is happy to prepare a small lunch package for you on request. For dinner, you will be able to have bar food from the bed and breakfast.

At breakfast, you will be served a hearty Highland breakfast, guaranteed to fuel the most energetic. This will be a selection of fresh fruit, wholesome cereals, porridge, bread and croissants, as well as smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and kippers, with plenty of freshly brewed tea and coffee.

Absolutely! Just let us know when you book onto this adventure.

On average, you will walk for six hours each day, but this can exceed seven hours depending on the conditions. Each day, you will walk up to 8km with between 500 and 800m of ascent.

Your guide will provide you with:

  • Helmet
  • Ice Axe

Yes, of course. All guides on this trip are qualified with Mountaineering Instructor certificates, Winter Mountain Leader certificates and International Mountain Leader certificates.

The Cairngorm Mountains often have snow from December to March, which makes it them perfect for this adventure. Temperatures while hiking can vary from 10°C to 0°C, but the daily average is usually around 4°C.

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Your guide suggests that you bring:

  • Correctly fitting winter four-season rigid soled boots
  • Correctly fitting crampons (these can be hired at an extra cost)
  • Waterproof/Windproof jacket and trousers
  • Gaiters
  • Fleece mid layer
  • Base layer, eg. wicking T-shirt
  • Gloves and spares -Hat/Balaclava
  • Head torch, spare bulb and battery (or an ordinary torch)
  • Rucksack and plastic liner (25-30 litres)
  • Spare fleece or sweater
  • Spare socks
  • Water bottle
  • Flask up to 1-litre capacity
  • Compass
  • Whistle

None, however, you can hire boots and crampons at an additional cost.


View map

Cairngorm Mountains are located in the Eastern Highlands of Scotland and are home to five of the six highest mountains in Scotland. Much of the terrain in the area resembles mountain tundra found in the Arctic, which is unique in Britain to this area. This makes it the perfect place spot to learn winter skills that are applicable across the globe.

The national park is known for its wildlife and ancient woodland which provides a unique alpine semi-tundra habitat. You might even see the Cairngorm Reindeer, the only herd of reindeer in the British Isles…

Start Point:
Inverness Airport - 16:00
Your adventure begins at Inverness Airport with your airport transfer at 16:00. Please schedule your flight to arrive more than 30 minutes before this time, your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals area. If you’re not able to join the transfer or you’re planning to come by train, your host can pick you up from Aviemore Train Station at 17:00. Alternatively, you can also make your own way to the Kinross B&B in the Cairngorm National Park for the briefing at 19:00, where you’ll meet your guide and fellow adventurers.

End Point:
Inverness Airport - 19:00
At the end of your adventure, you will be dropped back at Aviemore Train Station at 18:00 or at Inverness airport at 19:00. You’re free to book any flight that departs after 20:30.
If you’re travelling to/from London, you may want to make use of the Caledonian Sleeper Train for an overnight journey.

What to Expect

Friday: Arrival

In the evening, your host will pick you up from Inverness Airport or centre and take you to your accommodation in Cairngorm National Park.

Settle in and enjoy a drink with your fellow adventurers, as your guide briefs you on the trip ahead.

Saturday: Ice-Axing, and Avalanche Awareness

Enjoy a hearty breakfast at your accommodation before setting out at 8:30 on the 30-minute drive to the hill.

Once you’re in the mountains, your guide will teach you the basic skills in using ice axes and crampons as you hike, and help you get used to the mountainous winter terrain.

Then, the fun really starts as you have a lesson in how to perform self-arrest. This will involve sliding along the ice, as you practise using your ice axe to stop yourself.

Throughout the day, your guides will also teach you about the different kinds of snowpack, to help you become more aware where the avalanche risks are and how to spot them.

After a day out on the hill navigating the winter terrain, you’ll head back to the B&B where you can relax with a drink and enjoy dinner at the pub.

6-7 hours of hiking & winter skills training

Sunday: Summit Cairngorm Peak and Departure

It’s another early start at your accommodation as you head out again at 8:30, after a morning briefing.

Depending on the weather conditions, you may be able to summit one of the many peaks in the Cairngorm Mountains and put your new skills into practice.

Typically, this will be the rugged Cairn Gorm (1245m) which, despite being so close to the ski area, still requires some full-on navigation.

The hike can reveal some phenomenal views as well as striking cliff and rock formations, making it an exciting and rewarding way to use your navigational skills.

In the evening, your host will take you back to Inverness Airport in time for ay flights leaving at 20:50 or later.

6-7 hours of hiking & winter skills training

If you already master the skills above, join our Winter Mountain Climbing Course instead or join it as a continuation of this course to hone your skills.


Your accommodation will be the cosy Scottish Kinross House B&B in Grantown on Spey, located in Cairngorms National Park. You will stay in traditional Scottish country style twin rooms, and be provided with a selection of teas, coffee, hot chocolate and shortbread, along with a TV, radio, telephone, alarm clock and hairdryer. The B&B itself has free WiFi and optional drying and laundry services,

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